THE Cork West U14 football team was launched in Ahamilla, as players and parents gathered to be informed of the expectations for the squad and their plans for the coming months.
In charge of the team is Games Development Administrator (GDA) James McCarthy, under the jurisdiction of the Carbery board. Assisting him as coaches are Colm Sheehy of Clonakilty, Diarmuid O’Donovan of St James’ and Shane O’Donovan of Kilmeen. The team is sponsored by the Westlodge Hotel, Bantry.
The panel of 30 is chosen from 16 different clubs, stretching from Urhan in the West to Newcestown in the east. It emanates from the Carbery Academy which caters for U13 footballers and hurlers in the West Cork area, including Beara.
Last season, 150 young footballers signed on for the academy and by Christmas the number had settled at 90. Those players played series of games as well as receiving top-class coaching, including several games in Páirc Uí Chaoimh’s new 4G pitch.
Between Christmas and June, the squad played several inter-regional games and two teams were fielded in various tournaments. Eventually, the number of players was whittled down to 30 and those players now form the U14 team. ]All of the players, bar one from Urhan, were involved in the Dr Herlihy Cup competition, which was run off between first years in various second-level schools in West Cork in March and April. Hamilton High School of Bandon won that competition for the fourth year in a row.
The team will now take part in a series of challenge games, starting with a game against Galway this Saturday. Cork county caters for four such regional teams, in comparison to two from Kerry and one from each of the other Munster counties. Cork West will then travel to Waterford for a grading competition between all the Munster regions and at that competition the teams will be graded A or B. This is the first time this grading system has taken place at U14 level.
Once the grading has been the decided, all the teams will travel again to Waterford in July for the Munster competition proper. In August, they will finish their training and return to their clubs for club championships. The Cork West players will be expected to become leaders on their club teams and to raise the standard at club level.
The process will continue at U15 and U16 levels until a Cork team is selected for the minor championship.
At the launch, James McCarthy outlined the programme for the team while Tom Lyons, Carbery vice-chairman, explained what was expected of the players and how important family support is. Also present were families of the players as well as Mark O’Donovan, Carbery coaching officer and the U14 team coaches Colm Sheehy, Diarmuid O’Donovan and Shane O’Donovan.
The full Cork West U14 football squad is Niall Kelly and Eoin McSweeney (Newcestown), Joseph Bohane and Jack O’Neill (Castlehaven), Gearoid Cronin and Alan Kelleher (St Colum’s), Dylan Crowley (Urhan), Darragh Kingston, Cillian O’Brien, Paddy Cronin and Eoin O’Neill (Bantry Blues), Shane Carey and Niall Daly (Ilen Rovers), Adam Crawford and Jeffrey Wycherley (Ibane Gaels), John O’Donovan (Clonakilty), Kilmeen (Oisin O’Sullivan), Liam McCarthy, Paudie Gore and Owen Tobin (Kilmacabea), Oran Corcoran (Ahán Gaels), Jack Calnan and Jack Cullen (Bandon), Dan Twomey (Owen Gaels), Dara Twomey (Carbery Rangers), Cathal Hegarty and Luke Mulhall (Tadhg MacCarthaigh) and Oisin Daly (Clann na nGael).